Buying Followers on Instagram: Pros and Cons

Alexandra Belski Alexandra Belski
Reading time:  11  min.

We’ve all heard of the expression “Money can’t buy you friends,” but whoever said that didn’t know they’d actually be for sale one day. Due to a growing competition on social media, more and more brands take shortcuts and purchase followers as well as likes, comments, and views. The reason is simple – engagement is now one of the key metrics for determining social media success. But it can also sabotage your whole strategy and hurt business growth. So is it safe to buy followers on Instagram and other networks?

Pros and cons of buying followers on social media

This post could be useful for both aspiring bloggers kickstarting their accounts and brands that want to know how to suss out influencers who buy Instagram followers and likes. You’ll learn whether purchasing followers can really give you a head start on your marketing strategy and what you’re risking when doing so.

How to Buy Followers on Social Media

First, let’s see how you can get Instagram followers and boost other networks in return for your money. Basically, you go to a vendor and order the desired number of follows, likes, and/or comments. Here are two options of getting engagement:

  • Fake pages created with the sole purpose of following your account. These can be bots or even genuine accounts, whose owners want to get followed in return or make money that way.
  • Services who will take over your account and follow other users. It’s a common practice on Instagram to follow back the person who follows you, so you can get the bot running and see new followers coming in. 

How much does it cost to buy 1,000 followers? The pricing starts from $12.99 for fake accounts and from $2.99 a month if you want a service to follow real accounts. 

Once you make a purchase, it will take between a few hours to a couple of days for followers to appear on your profile. The sellers usually do this gradually and not in bulk so that the platform doesn’t get suspicious of a sudden increase in activity. 

Remember that purchasing followers doesn’t usually include getting likes and comments, and you need to pay for them separately. Theoretically, buying engagement will make your following increase look less shady. 

So, which site is best to buy Instagram followers from and boost other networks? Here are a few marketplaces for you to take a look at:

  • Famoid claims to provide secure payment methods and deliver follows, likes and video views instantly. There are different pricing options, for example, you can get 100 Instagram followers for $3.95 and 100 likes for $2.95.
  • GetInsta’s premium plan starts from $0.99 per day, but you can also start for free and earn coins by following and liking other users.
  • Kicksta provides organic account growth with the help of its artificial intelligence technology. It will study your competitors and niche influencers, engage with their audiences, and get your account followed back. Posting quality content on your profile is crucial. If you wonder, “How do I buy genuine Instagram followers?”, consider using this program.

Buying Followers: Reasons Why

Should you buy followers on social media? To address this matter, we’ve studied positive and negative outcomes you may face upon this decision. Purchasing followers is widely used by marketers and influencers across various niches. Here are some of the benefits you can derive.

Increasing Visibility

Higher follower count and performance metrics are positive signals for social networks. Algorithms display posts in the feeds based on how much engagement they generate. Without enough likes and comments, your content may not appear on your followers’ feeds, let alone Explore pages.

Giving Your Brand a Sense of Authority

When you are just starting out, it’s harder to convince people to subscribe to your page. Boosting the metrics can help you gain credibility as a larger following size usually acts as social proof, and people will be more likely to do the same. For instance, a brand with a hundred likes looks less authoritative than a brand with a thousand likes. Even though you can look through their followers and see whether they are genuine or bots, most people won’t bother to do it and simply look at the follower count.

Enticing Brands and Influencers to Collaborate

Following size can help you strike more deals with brands and influencers. In this real-life case, an aspiring model could only get agencies to look at her profile if she had over 15K followers on Instagram. Naturally, these agencies mistake the following size for influence. 

Another real example is from the marketing agency Mediakix, which conducted an experiment and set up two fake Instagram accounts, filled them in with pictures and bought about 15,000 followers and engagement for both accounts. Over a couple of months, these fake influencers struck four paid deals, which only proves that brands look at the follower count when exploring partnership opportunities.

Earning More for Sponsored Content

Not only does a large following help collaborate, but it also allows you to get paid higher. Micro influencers with up to 10,000 followers can earn $250 per post, while those who have over a million followers get paid around $250,000. The chart below shows average sponsored Instagram post rates and their reliance on follower count. 

instagram sponsored post rates
Average sponsored Instagram post rates by follower count, statistics by

The documentary “Fake Famous” presents another interesting experiment showing how brands fall for an illusion of an influencer’s fabulous lifestyle. The team bought about 250,000 followers for one of the show’s actresses and ran several photoshoots in a backyard, geotagging to luxurious hotels and resorts instead. Shortly, the actress started receiving offers from brands that wanted to be featured in her posts on Instagram. 

Buying Followers: Reasons Why Not

While it may seem like a win-win to purchase followers in the droves instead of waiting months to grow an account organically, in reality, this method has serious shortcomings. Here are a few of them.

No Long-Term Value

The first disadvantage of buying followers and engagement is that they provide only short-term perks to your account. Think about how useful it is to have thousands of followers who don’t interact with your content, and are more like a dead weight. The whole point of growing an account is to connect with the audience, engage it and make sales, but fake followers won’t bring you any of that.

Besides, if you run an ad for your audience, the pricing will depend on the follower count, and having fake accounts will only make you pay more.

Risking your credibility 

You may also harm your reputation. Having a large audience and little engagement will look suspicious and even desperate. Today, there are a lot of programs that allow users to easily check how genuine the account is. For example, tools like HypeAuditor and SocialAuditPro can investigate public profiles and determine their follower quality. If real followers or brands you collaborate with catch the wind of fake engagement on your page, it might turn them against you. Hootsuite conducted an interesting experiment in which one of its blog’s writers bought followers for her Instagram account and received negative comments from her real audience. 

An example of negative comments from real followers, a photo from a post by Hootsuite

There are other threats to your credibility. Thus, follower vendors might send ads or spam to your audience or partners as they have access to your account. If you run a bot that follows users, it can’t understand which accounts are genuine and which aren’t, so you might follow bots and fake accounts instead of real users, which will look suspicious. 

Distorting Performance Metrics

Fake followers will also decrease your organic engagement rate, which is calculated based on the follower count. If you have a large audience who give little to no likes and comments, your engagement will be really low. 

Besides, having a lot of ghost accounts among your followers makes it hard to assess how well you connect with the real audience. And if you can’t assess the marketing efficacy, it will be harder for you to achieve success. In fact, some marketers and influencers are cleaning their followings to improve performance metrics. 

Instead, use this time and money to produce more engaging content and acquire genuine followers.

Facing Legal Liability

If you want to land deals with brands and get them to advertise on your page, having a fake audience exposes you to risk. As mentioned above, prices for sponsored content usually depend on the follower count, and if the company finds out that your numbers are inflated, you may face legal liability.

Risking a Ban

Most social platforms like Instagram explicitly forbid creating fake accounts and regularly comb them out. At first, you may receive a warning, then get your account provisionally disabled or even suspended entirely. Moreover, social networks try to remove paid-for likes and comments to restore users’ and advertisers’ trust on platforms.

What to Do Instead of Buying Followers

If you’re looking for follower growth, you should know that there are plenty of ways to boost your metrics. Most of these marketing practices don’t require any additional spending on your side but help yield bigger results than if you bought fake followers. 

A good example is one of Hootsuite’s experiments. The team set up a real Instagram account and grew it both organically and with fake followers. The organic strategy included using hashtags and high-quality visuals, regular posting, and engaging with users. In the end, it was twice as effective as the bot way. Thus, the team gained 401 followers in total and 200 likes and 20 comments per day organically, while the bot brought 111 followers and averaged 100 likes and 10 comments a day.

1. Share Engaging Content

Start by posting inspiring content that will encourage users to interact. This will show the platform’s algorithm that your post resonates well with the audience, so it might be shown to new people on the Explore page or through hashtag search. Here are a few ideas on boosting engagement:

  1. Diversify your content with videos, GIFs, boomerangs, IGTV, quizzes, infographics, etc.
  2. Share high-quality visuals only.
  3. Write catchy captions. Use this space to share your personal experience, connect with the audience, and draw their attention for longer.
  4. Post regularly so that the audience comes back for more. 
  5. Keep up your brand’’s unique style to differentiate yourself from competitors and create a consistent look on your page.
  6. Do keyword and hashtag research.
  7. Analyze your audience’s behavior and interests and create posts that resonate with them the most. Also, find out when the users are most active and share content at these times.

2. Run Contests and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are an excellent way to boost engagement on your page. Here is what you need to do: 

  1. Choose an objective depending on your brand strategies, which can be to increase follower count, get more likes and comments, make more conversions, promote a particular product, etc. 
  2. Draw up rules explaining who can enter a contest, what people need to do, how long the contest will last, and what’s the prize. 
  3. Promote your contest or giveaway across different channels to draw more attention. You can even run ads to expand the reach.
  4. Pick a winner randomly or based on the contest’s terms. 
  5. Follow up with your new leads. For example, if you collected emails, send them a newsletter or a roundup of your best posts. 

Note that each social network has its own rules regarding such promotions. Here are links to contest policies on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, and TikTok.

Third-party tools will help get your contest up and running. With SweepWidget, you can make a giveaway within 60 seconds across 30 social platforms, run various types of contests and make use of marketing integrations in a single dashboard. Gleam is a more robust tool that verifies each action a user takes and tracks whether they’ve completed all steps for your giveaway so that you don’t have to dig through all entries manually. Outgrow provides tons of pre-made templates for contests, giveaways, and other interactive content such as quizzes, chatbots, etc.

Use Different Content Types

Sharing the same type of posts day after day might be a dire mistake, which can cost you engagement. Take advantage of different content types to draw in as many users as possible and show your materials from different angles. For example, infographics help present complex data or instructions, how-to guides and checklists walk readers step-by-step, videos perfectly grab attention, carousel posts allow you to share as many visuals as possible, and so on.

Respond to Everyone

Make sure to respond to all comments and messages. If a user has taken time to attend to your posts, acknowledge them and answer back. Try to sound approachable and friendly, address users by name, answer their questions precisely and use emojis.

It’s also important to respond quickly. Research reveals that almost half of customers expect brands to answer their social comments within one hour. While it’s fun to answer positive comments, you shouldn’t leave negative feedback unattended and use it to show that you care about customers and may even improve your service.

Make sure to maintain your brand’s unique voice through all comments. You can create templates or even automate your responses. For example, Facebook Messenger allows you to create flows and set up triggers. However, using third-party automation services might make you look like a robot and only repel people, so try to find the right balance.

Use Hashtags

The right hashtags will help you strike gold and find new audiences. First, analyze your followers and see which hashtags they usually search for and use in their posts. Then, check the same for your competitors and influencers in the niche. Take advantage of related hashtags to expand your reach. Always avoid spam and banned hashtags. And the main thing is to stay relevant to your post topic to not only drive traffic but make sure you attract a target audience.

Be careful when using hashtags in your posts. Don’t add too many of them as it may look spammy. Place hashtags in the first comment to your post so that the captions look tidier. You can also add hashtags to Stories to increase the chances for your content to get discovered by new audiences. Finally, diversify hashtags for each post, as the social networks discourage repetitive content and may penalize you for that.

Engage With Users

Social networks favor engagement, so the more you interact with followers, the more likely your content to show up on other people’s feeds. This will increase your visibility and boost page growth. So, how can you do that? Respond back to all comments you get and check your followers’ profiles. Many marketers take the time to like and comment on their followers’ accounts to connect with them and build relationships.

Among all types of content, Stories may be one of the best ways to increase engagement. With all the stickers and other engagement magnets available, Stories can greatly encourage users to react to your content.

Run Ads

You’ll pay to get fake followers on Instagram and other social networks anyway, so why not invest this money into advertisement? Ads are one of the easiest ways to reach your target audience and they won’t make you risk your credibility unlike fake followers. With such a high volume of posts uploaded on social networks every day, it is becoming harder to show up on users’ feeds, and ads can help get more eyes on your content. 

The right approach will allow you to reach impressive results, such as increasing income and page views and boosting brand visibility. In this webinar from the Travelpayouts Affiliate Summit, you can learn how to choose the right content to promote, optimize articles for monetization and set up ads on Facebook. Also, you can find 10 steps to successful Facebook advertising in this tutorial for beginners and advanced users.

Build Partnerships

A great way to increase your following and engagement is through partnerships with other brands and influencers in the niche. Influencers are powerful in that they have credibility on social networks and followers who trust their expertise. The right deal will allow you to get your name in front of a much bigger audience. 

How can you find the right partners? Make sure they have an audience in the same niche as yours or in related sectors. Each partner will be promoting content to their audience and can gain new followers from one another. 

Think about what you can offer, be it relevant case studies, client testimonials, analyses, and more. There are a lot of tools to find bloggers and influencers in your niche. Once you draw up a list, follow the influencers on social media, like, share, and comment on their content. This may help you establish trust and pave the way for successful communication. 

Hire an Agency to Grow Your Following

And finally, you can boost your following with the help of a marketing agency. Building your account manually takes effort and time, and the less skilled you are in social media marketing, the more you’ll have to work. An agency, on the other hand, has a whole team of experts and can lead you to success faster. They also have all the necessary software, so you won’t have to buy any tools in addition.

How to choose the right agency? First, look for companies that work with brands similar to yours in terms of size and target audience. For example, if you are a local business, look for an agency that deals with local brands and so on. Second, the right agency should have a good social presence itself to be able to help you establish one. Third, search for client reviews and case studies from an agency to learn what kind of experience you may gain.

Is It Really Worth Buying Followers on Social Media?

Social media platforms are growing fast and show no signs of slowing down in the near future. While it becomes challenging to keep up with the competition, buying fake followers is not all positive. Between risking your credibility, getting only short-term results, and even facing legal liability, you may get more trouble than profits if you buy followers on Instagram and other networks. Alternatively, increasing your following organically will bring steady growth and help establish authority and trust.

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